We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Advertising Disclosure
  1. Website Planet
  2. >
  3. Blog
  4. >
  5. How To Start an LLC in Virginia: the BEST Method in 2023

How To Start an LLC in Virginia: the BEST Method in 2023

Caitlin Greyling Caitlin GreylingFinance Specialist September 27, 2023
September 27, 2023
If you’re looking to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true in the state of Virginia, starting a Limited Liability Company (LLC) might just be the best way to get your business off the ground. LLC formation is a great way to gain credibility, enjoy tax flexibility, and keep your personal and business assets separate.

Additionally, in Virginia, LLCs benefit from low annual fees and straightforward registration.

But let’s be clear: it’s not easy. Setting up an LLC involves multiple steps that require an understanding of Virginia’s business laws, from filing the necessary paperwork to ongoing reporting requirements. And you don’t want to get these wrong. Non-compliance can lead to daunting legal and financial repercussions that could see your business dreams evaporating before your eyes.

The process, while feasible, is complex and requires meticulous attention to detail, and that’s why we’ve created this easy-to-follow guide. Let’s get started!

Short on Time? Here’s a Quick Guide To Starting an LLC in Any US State:

These are the bare minimum required steps to start an LLC in any state, district, or territory in the USA. Remember, these are generalized steps, and we’ve outlined more detailed requirements and the specific rules and regulations for Virginia in our full guide below. Always consult with a legal advisor, Virginia’s State Corporation Commission office, or one of our recommended LLC formation services for accurate, up-to-date information.

  1. Register a unique and compliant business name that aligns with your state’s regulations for your LLC.
  2. Designate a Registered Agent to handle legal documents and official mail for your LLC. It can be you, a partner, an employee, or a service like ZenBusiness.
  3. Submit your Articles of Organization to the Secretary of State or its equivalent in your state, listing your LLC’s name, address, Registered Agent’s details, and any other stipulated details.
  4. Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS and register for any state and local taxes, as required.

How To Start an LLC in Virginia: a Comprehensive Guide

Before you begin, be sure to take note of the following important points:
  • Your LLC company name may not imply it is anything apart from an LLC (including having “corporation,” “inc,” or the like in the name) – the use of words like “university,” “bank,” or “attorney” are also restricted.
  • Depending on the type of business you are conducting, you may need to acquire other local or state business permits and licenses.

1. Choose a name for your LLC

Select a name that reflects your business and complies with Virginia’s naming rules. The name must be unique, not be too similar to existing businesses, and include an LLC designator like “Limited Liability Company,” “LLC,” or “L.L.C.” Perform a name search on Virginia’s State Corporation Commission website to ensure your chosen name is available.

You should also consider searching for and registering a domain name for your business website, which is included with an LLC formation plan from Tailor Brands.

2. Appoint a Registered Agent

A Registered Agent is a person or entity responsible for receiving legal documents (e.g., lawsuits, summons) and official government correspondence on behalf of your LLC. The Registered Agent must have a physical address (not a P.O. box) in the state of Virginia and must be available during regular business hours.

You can choose a member of the LLC if it is a partnership – or you can choose a friend, a professional Registered Agent service like ZenBusiness, or even yourself.

3. File Articles of Organization

This foundational document needs to be filed with Virginia’s State Corporation Commission office. This costs $100, and must include the following information, at minimum:
  • LLC name
  • Principal office address
  • Registered Agent’s name and address
  • Name and signature of the organizer(s)

4. Create an LLC Operating Agreement

An Operating Agreement is optional for LLCs in Virginia. This is a legal document that outlines the ownership, management structure, and operating procedures of your LLC. It typically includes information on:
  • Members’ ownership percentages
  • Voting rights and responsibilities
  • Profit and loss allocation
  • Management structure (member-managed or manager-managed)
  • Procedures for adding or removing members
Creating an Operating Agreement helps avoid disputes among members and provides clarity on how the business should be run.

5. Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

An EIN is a unique nine-digit number assigned by the IRS to your LLC for tax purposes. It’s required for filing business taxes, hiring employees, and opening a business bank account, which you should also do to keep your personal and business finances separate.

However, if your LLC is a single-member LLC with no employees and is classified as a disregarded entity for tax purposes, you may be able to use your Social Security number (SSN) instead of an EIN for federal tax filing. But even in this case, it is generally recommended to obtain an EIN to separate business activities from personal ones and maintain the limited liability protection.

6. Register for state and local taxes

Depending on your business activities and location in the state of Virginia, you may need to register for various state and local taxes, such as:
  • Sales and use tax
  • Payroll tax
  • Income tax withholding
  • Unemployment insurance tax
  • Workers’ compensation insurance
Consult the Virginia State Corporation Commission website or a professional LLC formation service for more information on registration requirements in your local region.

7. Obtain necessary licenses and permits

Your LLC may require specific licenses or permits to operate legally in Virginia, depending on the industry and location. Examples include:
  • Professional or occupational licenses
  • Health and safety permits
  • Zoning and land use permits
  • Sales tax licenses
  • Environmental permits
Visit the Virginia State Corporation Commission and your local government websites for more information on required licenses and permits, or seek advice from ZenBusiness, which can come up with a plan to cover your exact requirements.

8. Maintain ongoing compliance

LLCs in Virginia are subject to ongoing state requirements to remain in good standing. These requirements include:
  • Filing an Annual Report. Virginia’s State Corporation Commission requires LLCs to submit an Annual Report by the end of their formation anniversary month every year, which updates the State on key information about the business, including ownership, Registered Agent, and contact information. This costs $50.
  • Maintaining a Registered Agent. Ensure that your Registered Agent remains available and maintains a valid physical address in the state where your LLC is formed.
  • Complying with state and federal tax obligations. File your LLC’s tax returns and pay any taxes owed on time. This may include federal income tax, state income tax, sales and use tax, payroll tax, and any other taxes that may be relevant to your particular business.
  • Renewing licenses and permits. Keep all required licenses and permits up to date by renewing them as needed. Failure to maintain proper licenses and permits can lead to fines or legal trouble.
By staying informed and diligently meeting these ongoing requirements, you can keep your LLC in good standing and protect your limited liability status. The easiest way to do this is to employ one of the selected business service providers we’ve researched and reviewed below.

These Are the Top LLC Formation Services for Virginia

There are a lot of LLC formation services out there. To come up with the best ones for Virginia LLCs, we looked for the following features:
  • A free (minus state fees) plan that saves you the most money.
  • Feature-packed plans, regardless of cost, so you get the best value.
  • Unique features not offered by most of the competition, such as creative services, financial tools, or specialty consultations, to move you along.
  • Ease of use and user-friendliness, because who needs a service they have trouble using?
  • Good customer support, if you need help or guidance getting started.
  • Customization of plans and services, because not all businesses are built alike.
Here are our top LLC formation services specifically to start an LLC in Virginia.

ZenBusiness homepage with preferred business name text field to get started
ZenBusiness can offer you LLC formation services starting at $0 (plus state fees, of course)
Whether you’re launching a side gig or a grand enterprise, ZenBusiness provides a reliable LLC formation service. It features a wide range of customizable plans (from free to premium) to fit any budget, and each includes a number of valuable extras. Plus, you can add on various helpful services, software subscriptions, and tools as needed.

With ZenBusiness’s free plan, you only pay for mandatory state filing fees. If you want a faster service, ZenBusiness’s Pro and Premium plans promise 1–2 days’ filing times. Best of all, every plan comes with a 100% Accuracy Guarantee, so you know ZenBusiness will nail the details every time.

On top of that, ZenBusiness throws in Worry-Free Compliance and ZenBusiness Money Essential, a free tool for effortless expense and tax tracking. If you want to go the extra mile, you can upgrade to ZenBusiness Money Pro, a comprehensive tool for managing your accounts. And if you’re on the fence about it, you can try out ZenBusiness Money Pro through its free 30-day trial.


  • Tax consultations. Just for signing up, you’ll get a free 30-minute tax consultation through partner 1-800Accountant.
  • Mobile app. Access your account dashboard through an Android or iOS app in addition to desktop.
  • Website builder. ZenBusiness offers access to a proprietary website builder with the Premium plan. You also get a domain name and email address.
  • Full customization. You can modify your ZenBusiness plan so you get only the services you need – and you won’t be paying for anything you don’t.
Free plan (plus state fees)?
Expedited option?
Fastest available LLC filing time 1–2 days
Customer support Chatbot, email, phone

2. Tailor Brands: Build Your Brand From the Beginning

Tailor Brands homepage, with business name text field to get started
Tailor Brands gets you started quickly and easily
Tailor Brands stands out because of its extensive array of visual design and marketing tools and add-ons. Yes, it offers you much more than just basic LLC formation. Think graphic design, an AI-driven logo maker, merchandise, website design, branding, and business cards.

Here’s a cool perk: Tailor Brands offers a free “plan generator.” Just share a little about you and your venture, and Tailor Brands will create a checklist to guide you from your current stage to a fully online presence. While it will nudge you toward paid plans and services, it’s an excellent starting point – especially if you’re transitioning from brainstorming to actual business-building.


  • Free logo maker. Tailor Brands provides a free logo maker available with all plans, as well as advanced features available with the Elite plan.
  • Zazzle partnership. Get started with printed merchandise for your LLC with an exclusive deal with Zazzle.
  • In-house website design. For an added fee, Tailor Brands offers a custom website design to help your business get seen.
  • Trademark support. Tailor Brands can help you file your trademark application as an add-on service.
Free plan (plus state fees)?
Expedited option?
Fastest available LLC filing time Less than 2 days
Customer support Chatbot, email, phone

3. Swyft Filings: Ideal for Beginner Small Business Owners

Swyft Filings homepage, allowing users to choose entity type and state of formation to get started
Swyft Filings helps the beginner and veteran alike, by doing the paperwork for you
If you’re just stepping into the business world and want a straightforward start, consider Swyft Filings. With Swyft Filings’s LLC filing plans, you’ll tackle minimal paperwork, making them perfect for newcomers. It’s a breeze to sign up, with most of your business essentials included in both free and paid Swyft Filings plans.

And once you do, Swyft Filings doesn’t just set you up and wave goodbye. They offer a variety of add-ons and subscriptions, as well as a free 14-day trial of ComplianceGuard with every plan. This tool ensures you stay on top of state business compliance, sending you annual reports, meeting minutes, and timely filing reminders. Trust Swyft Filings to stick with you – from your first steps to successfully in-business status.


  • EIN application. With the Standard and Full Service plans, your EIN application is included for free.
  • Business license applications. Swyft Filings offers licensing and permit research and application services available as a paid add-on.
  • Specialty documents. With the Standard and Elite plans, you’ll gain access to specialty documents like Operating Agreements and banking resolutions.
  • Free Basic plan. If you don’t need all the bells and whistles, Swyft Filings offers a basic service that provides everything you need.
Free plan?
Expedited option?
Fastest available LLC filing time 1–5 business days
Customer support Phone support, ticket support, knowledge base

Get Your Virginia LLC Off the Ground With Ease

Starting an LLC can be a dream come true – but only after you’ve completed all the paperwork. Our top three featured company formation services take all the hassle and headache out of getting your LLC up and running.

No matter how big or small your LLC venture might be, ZenBusiness has a plan that will work for you. Its plans pack a lot of value, including its free one. And its competitors don’t offer many of the features it includes for free, such as a 100% Accuracy Guarantee and ZenBusiness Money Essential, with every plan.

If brand building is your main priority, consider Tailor Brands. This provider is known for its creative and marketing services and tools. From your logo to your website, it has you covered.

Or, if you’re a newbie just starting out and want a lot of guidance along the way, go with Swyft Filings. It offers a fast, intuitive signup process and an easy-to-use client dashboard.

Here are our top picks at a glance for Virginia:

Standout feature Bonus feature #1 Bonus feature #2 Starting price
ZenBusiness Customizable range of plans 100% Accuracy Guarantee Free tax consultations $0
Tailor Brands Branding and marketing tools Business “launch plan” generator State and local permit research and filing service $0
Swyft Filings Ease of use for beginners Excellent client dashboard Free trial of ComplianceGuard $0


How do I start an LLC in Virginia?

To start an LLC in Virginia, you’ll need to follow all the requirements laid out by Virginia’s State Corporation Commission. This includes choosing a unique name for your LLC, filing your Articles of Organization, and paying the required filing fee. You can do this on your own or use an LLC formation service to ensure you get everything filed properly.

What are the benefits of starting an LLC in Virginia?

Starting an LLC in Virginia allows you to separate your personal and business assets. It offers flexibility in management, allowing members to choose how the LLC is run and structured. Plus, Virginia offers low annual fees and straightforward registration.

How can I start an LLC in Virginia for free?

No matter how you start your LLC, you’ll be required to pay the state fees charged by Virginia’s State Corporation Commission. However, if you want to use an LLC formation service, we recommend ZenBusiness, as it offers a free basic plan to help you get started, as well as paid add-ons if you need them.

Which LLC formation service provides Registered Agent services?

Most LLC formation services offer Registered Agent services if you’d prefer not to do this yourself – basically, this involves being available for business communications during regular work hours. All three of our top vendors can act as your Registered Agent in any US state, but this will incur an additional fee. If you’re going to be available during regular business hours, you might find it more cost-effective to be your own Registered Agent, which is perfectly legal.

Rate this Article
4.0 Voted by 3 users
You already voted! Undo
This field is required Maximal length of comment is equal 80000 chars Minimal length of comment is equal 10 chars
Any comments?
View %s replies
View %s reply
Related posts
Show more related posts
We check all user comments within 48 hours to make sure they are from real people like you. We're glad you found this article useful - we would appreciate it if you let more people know about it.
Popup final window
Share this blog post with friends and co-workers right now:

We check all comments within 48 hours to make sure they're from real users like you. In the meantime, you can share your comment with others to let more people know what you think.

Once a month you will receive interesting, insightful tips, tricks, and advice to improve your website performance and reach your digital marketing goals!

So happy you liked it!

Share it with your friends!


Best Overall LLC Service

Complete LLC filling starting at $0 + state fees